Zucchini.

The fun just never ends, does it?

Sure, you can shred it to make cake, or frittata, or moist, raisin-packed muffins.

You can turn it into a restaurant-style (think bloomin' onion) appetizer.

Zucchini-Cheese Pancakes?

I'm so there.

Still, each of these recipes probably uses just one zucchini. Or maybe two small ones.

When what you really need, at this time of year, is something that actually makes a dent in the zuke supply.

The horn of plenty has suddenly become the horn of too much – what's a gardener/baker to do?

Turn on the oven, chunk your zukes, toss in olive oil, and roast 'em.

After all, despite its solid appearance and firm feel, zucchini is mainly water. Roasted long enough, a large bowl of zucchini will shrink into something much more manageable: golden brown, melting-soft disks of flavorful vegetable.

Perfect enjoyed on their own, added to a melange of fellow roasted vegetables, or used as the topping for a late-summer focaccia.

Now, I'm not talking those big ol' baseball bat zukes; you let 'em get that big, it's your challenge what to do with 'em.

No, I'm talking normal-size zucchini, in the 8" to 10" range. You know, the ones not hiding under their ample foliage and growing like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Zucchini like this.

Which, combined with roasted cherry tomatoes and scallions, are about to become the topping for light-as-air focaccia.

Let's start with the vegetables, since you can roast them ahead of time, then just store in the fridge until you decide what to do with them.

I'm using 3 pounds of zucchini here - six medium (8" to 10") zukes.

Trim the ends, cut into 3/4" slices, and toss with olive oil and Pizza Seasoning, or the dried herbs of your choice.

How much olive oil, you ask?

A couple of good glugs from the bottle. Or more. or less.

I like olive oil, so I tend to go heavy. If you're trying to keep the calorie count down here, you can simply spritz the zukes with olive oil spray. Your goal is enough oil that they'll brown nicely.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it'll work for any of our photos.

Spread the zucchini, in a single layer, on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Next, rustle up a pound or so of cherry tomatoes. Cut each in half; if they're small, prick them instead. The point is to create somewhere for their juices to easily exit.

Toss the tomatoes with olive oil and Pizza Seasoning or dried herbs. Place them, cut-side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Trim the root ends and any limp leaves from two bunches of scallions. Cut them into 2" to 3" pieces, toss in oil, sprinkle with herbs, and place on the baking sheet along with the tomatoes.

Place the vegetables in a preheated 400°F oven. Bake the zucchini, turning it over once, until it's golden brown; this will take about 60 minutes. Bake the scallions and tomatoes until they're starting to brown and soften, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the oven, use a spatula to gently loosen them from the pan, and set them aside to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Next up: focaccia dough.

We'll begin with an overnight starter. If you make this in the late afternoon, it'll be ready to go by the next morning.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Stir everything together until the flour is incorporated. The starter will be paste-like; it won't form a ball.

Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; the starter will be bubbly (photo, upper right).

Combine the risen starter with the following:

2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water*
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons olive oil

*Use 1 tablespoon less water in summer (or in a humid environment), 1 tablespoon more in winter (or in a dry climate).

Mix and knead – by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle – to make a soft, smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed.

Scrape the dough into a ball, and lift it out of the bowl. Grease the bowl, and place the dough back into the bowl. If you need the bowl for something else, put the dough in a lightly greased container of some kind.

Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 1 hour. Gently deflate the dough, and allow it to rise for another hour; it should have doubled in bulk from its original volume.

Lightly grease an 18" x 13" rimmed baking sheet (half-sheet pan) with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Drizzle olive oil atop the spray; the spray keeps the bread from sticking, while the olive oil gives the  bottom crust great crunch and flavor.

Gently deflate the dough. Pull and shape it into a rough rectangle, and pat it into the pan.

As soon as it begins to fight you and shrink back, stop patting. Wait 15 minutes; pat the dough farther towards the edges of the pan. Repeat once more, if necessary, until the dough is close to covering the bottom of the pan.

Place the roasted zucchini atop the dough. Cover the pan, and allow the dough to rise until it's very puffy, almost billowy. This will take about 2 to 3 hours.

Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place the pan on a lower rack in your oven, and bake the focaccia for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, top with the scallions and tomatoes, return to the oven, and bake for an additional 10 minutes...

...until the crust around the edges (and showing between the vegetables) is golden brown.

Remove the focaccia from the oven, and top with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired.

"Shaved" Parmesan? Take a block of Parmesan (or Romano, or Asiago... any hard cheese, really), and use a vegetable peeler to cut paper-thin slices.

Return the focaccia to the oven for a minute or so to soften the cheese, if desired.

Serve warm, or at room temperature.

See the air holes in the crust? It's chewy, yet light; the perfect complement to its substantial topping.

And that, my friends, is what you do with 3 pounds of zucchini.

OK, I know, you've STILL got tons to deal with; that's what the other 2 dozen zucchini recipes on our site are for!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Roasted Vegetable Focaccia.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

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